Thursday, December 22, 2005

Papal Speak

Today's Vatican Information Service has a couple of interesting articles about some comments that Pope Benedict XVI has made in the past couple of days. In the first, it quotes the Holy Father's speech to the Sistine Choir after their concert on Monday:
Indeed, praise of God calls for song. For this reason, your contribution is essential to the liturgy; it is not some marginal adornment, quite the contrary, the liturgy requires this beauty, it needs song in order to praise God and to bring joy to the participants.

I would like to thank you with all my heart. The liturgy of the Pope, the liturgy of St. Peter, must be an exemplary liturgy for the world. You know that today, through television and radio, many people all over the world follow this liturgy; from here they learn ... what the liturgy is and how it must be celebrated. That is why it is so important, not only that our masters of ceremonies show the Pope how to celebrate the liturgy well, but also that the Sistine Chapel should be an example of the beauty of song in praise of God.
The second story consists of Benedict's words to the Roman Curia, in which he said some great things about John Paul II and some even more profound things about Vatican II. In a nutshell, he focused on how a valid interpretation of the council's words, which has been wanting in the years since, particularly those immediately following the council, can answer many of the perennial questions the Church confronts in the modern world.

The Pope's unofficial "programme" of renewal and reform that many speculators and pundits have been predicating of him seems to be taking shape, although not quite as radically as many predicted after his election. The words are certainly thought provoking and inspiring, though; it seems that once every week or two, Pope Benedict makes a speech or gives a homily that just hits me like a breath of fresh air. I must say I'm very excited to read the encylical when it is released next month.


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